Coachford AFC captured another trophy on Monday night. It was the first time the club had ever won the Mossie Linnane cup, but this was only one of the reasons that Monday night was special. As the club celebrates its 50th birthday, it was evident that one of the main reasons they defeated Grattan united 1-0 was down to the large number of young players on the Coachford team. From the heart of the defence through midfield and up to the front, the young legs and fresh bodies were able to destroy the city side. It is no accident that the likes of Luke and Billy Casey, Mark and Adam Murphy, Matthew Bradley, and Sean and Evan O’Sullivan have ended up playing in Turners Cross. The time and effort that has been put into developing the Coachford youth teams over the last number of years is now paying dividends.
In his victory address to the players and supporters, team captain, Peter O’Riordan mentioned how difficult it is to win the Mossie Linnane cup. This victory was 10 months in the making. The competition began in August when a lot of these players were training hard to win a county GAA title with Aghabullogue. It’s unusual for rural soccer clubs to begin and finish with a flourish as it is normal for them to be sandwiched in between GAA fixtures. This is why this Mossie Linnae cup victory was special. It was also special as the club celebrates its existence for 50 years.
It’s a huge achievement for any soccer club to last half a century but for a rural one to do this is really out of the ordinary. But Coachford AFC hasn’t just managed to exist, they have flourished, they have grown, they have more than just survived. From the humble beginnings in 1969 they are now embedded in the community, offering an outlet to so many young people. Their excellent playing and training facilities at the Glebe are the envy of many larger clubs in Cork. They are a beacon to many rural clubs who are still in their infancy. Coachford AFC has shown that clubs outside the city can compete with the very best. They have shown that clubs can come from borrowed fields, from togging off in cars, from not being able to train properly or host big games to creating a permanent home and a tradition for soccer in Coachford. This enormous undertaking hasn’t happened overnight. It has taken years to build up this club. There have been some barren years mixed with runs of success. There have been triumphs and disasters, hearts broken and dreams fulfilled along the way to where the club finds itself today. There have been countless people who have toiled and continue to do so to ensure that Coachford soccer has a home, a history and a future.
These men and women got involved in soccer when it may not have been the most popular sport to have been a part of. Down through the years they have gathered teams together to play in the Cork AUL. They have had to scrimp and save, beg for playing gear, for pitches, for coaches, for referee’s fees. But they did it. They held carnivals, BBQs, Bingo, Draws, raffles and coaxed sponsorship from businesses. It must have been hard, there must have been times when it seemed no progress at all was being made and that doubts about actually just surviving must have crept in to their minds. But they kept going, kept believing, confident about what they could do. And look at what they have done. The groundwork for continued success has been put in place by all those who have gone before and those who are now entrusted with keeping this great club going.This week also saw the U13s win their league title. Investment in the youth policy continues and there is no doubt that we will all witness the rewards of this investment in the years to come.
What was also so special about Monday night was that many of those involved in the club down through the years were able to witness the success of the cup victory and that it was achieved in the year of the clubs 50th anniversary. Many of those involved in the club for years were in Turners Cross to witness their club lift another trophy. Families and individuals who have been the backbone of the club were all there to celebrate with those whose involvement in recent times has brought a new vigor to Coachford AFC.These club stalwarts can be justifiably proud of all they have done and the club they have built.
Take a bow Coachford AFC you deserve it.